Romans 8:1-2 There is...no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus
Paul tells us that those who walk after the Spirit are under no condemnation. But often, we don't really believe him. So frequently we see members who try their best yet are overcome with feelings of guilt and inadequacy. How is this possible when they are under no condemnation? Paul is whispering in one ear, "you're free from the power of sin by the Savior's atonement." Satan is whispering in the other ear, "you're not good enough; Sister So-and-so is more spiritual than you; you missed your visiting teaching again."
It would seem that many-too many-listen to Satan's alluring siren rather than Paul's liberating declaration of truth-that living by the Spirit makes one 'free from the law of sin and death.' That should also mean that we are free from feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and self-deprecation.
Chieko N. Okazaki
"We all have challenges to face that test our courage. I want you to know that the Savior is with us in our difficult moments. And I urge you to take courage and be of good cheer. It's hard enough to bear our burdens and go about our duty without weighting our steps down even more by a downcast countenance and by a mournful consciousness of how sad we are. I'm not saying we should put on a facade or lie to ourselves or others, but I am saying that we should choose the path of courage and cheer just as much as we possibly can. It will strengthen us. And we certainly don't need to take on the totally unnecessary burden of inappropriate guilt and feelings of inadequacy that come from comparing ourselves to others." (Aloha! [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1995], 122.)
Romans 8:5 they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh
Neal A. Maxwell
"If one 'mind[s] the things of the flesh' (Rom. 8:5), he cannot 'have the mind of Christ' (1 Cor. 2:16) because his thought patterns are 'far from' Jesus, as are the desires or the 'intents of his heart' (Mosiah 5:13). Ironically, if the Master is a stranger to us, then we will merely end up serving other masters. The sovereignty of these other masters is real, even if it sometimes is subtle, for they do call their cadence. Actually, 'we are all enlisted' (Hymns, 1985, no. 250), if only in the ranks of the indifferent." ("Swallowed Up in the Will of the Father," Ensign, Nov. 1995, 22)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Gross sins arise ominously and steadily out of the swamp of self-indulgence and self-pity. But the smaller sins breed there, too, like insects in the mud, including the coarsening of language. But why should we expect those who 'mind the things of the flesh' to mind their tongues? (Rom. 8:5.)
"For some, their god 'is their belly,' as are other forms of anatomical allegiance! (Philip. 3:19.) A few hedonists actually glory in their shame, and there is even a 'greediness' in their 'uncleanness' (Eph. 4:18-19). Sadly, too, a few envy the wicked. Still others complain that the wicked seem to get away with it! (See Prov. 23:17; Mal. 3:14-15.)
"Ironically, in all their eagerness to experience certain things, hedonists, become desensitized. People who wrongly celebrate their capacity to feel finally reach a point where they lose much of their capacity to feel! In the words of three different prophets, such individuals become 'past feeling' (see 1 Ne. 17:45; Eph. 4:19; Moro. 9:20)." ("Deny Yourselves of All Ungodliness," Ensign, May 1995, 67-68)
Romans 8:6 to be carnally minded is death
"The Latter-day Saints present a strange spectacle to those that enjoy the spirit of revelation. To see them following after the spirit of this world and gratifying the lust of the eye and of the mind, like the rest of mankind who have never enjoyed the spirit of the Gospel of life and salvation; and yet not so very strange when we realize the power of the enemy and the thousands of snares which he lays for the feet of the unwary, to draw the people astray from the things of God. Still, when we view the great object of our life, our being here upon the earth, being brought here expressly to receive that experience by which we can discover between right and wrong, between good and evil, between light and darkness, and obtain that experience that angels have, that the gods have, and that all exalted beings have, and remember that we are put in possession of those principles that make us wise unto salvation, that we should stoop to the sinful deeds and sinful reflections that many do, is marvelous and strange. When I think of these things I am impressed with the great importance of this life and of exercising ourselves in the privileges that God has granted to us to prepare our hearts through obedience to the Gospel of the Son of God, for a high station, for a high exaltation in worlds to come, such as we cannot receive whilst clothed in this mortal tabernacle. But still, in this life we can receive little by little, and more and more, growing in grace and in the knowledge of the truth, until our minds are able to comprehend many of the great things of eternity; and thus prepare our hearts, by overcoming sin and the weaknesses of humanity, for that exaltation already awaiting the righteous." (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 19: 2 - 3.)
David O. McKay
"...We have...our animal instincts, the anger that comes to us, the unpleasant words that are spoken, making life unpleasant, rather than emphasizing the spiritual side, the real side of our nature.
"The text was suggested several weeks ago, particularly emphasized at that time, by a report that came to me of unpleasantness in a home, and I wondered why we cannot emphasize spiritual attitudes in our homes instead of unpleasant attitudes; why, having before us all the admonitions of the Lord, all the opportunities offered by the Church, we cannot express spiritual attitudes every day of our lives. What good is religion if it does not make our daily lives better? Why need there be emphasis put upon the carnal side of our natures? True, that is the natural reaction for all animals.
"But having in our possession the high principles of the gospel as revealed through Christ, why cannot members of the Church at least in the home, in school, in all their associations, emphasize the spiritual side of their natures instead of the carnal side?" (October 12, 1965, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1965, p. 3)
Romans 8:6 to be spiritually minded is life and peace
Dallin H. Oaks
"To be spiritually minded is to view and evaluate our experiences in terms of the enlarged perspective of eternity.
"Each of us has a personal lens through which we view the world. Our lens gives its special tint to all we see. It can suppress some features and emphasize others. It can also reveal things otherwise invisible. Through the lens of spirituality, we can know 'the things of God' by 'the Spirit of God.' (1 Cor. 2:11.) As the Apostle Paul taught, such things are 'foolishness' to the 'natural man.' He cannot see them 'because they are spiritually discerned.' (See 1 Cor. 2:14.)
"How we interpret our experiences is also a function of our degree of spirituality. Some interpret mortality solely in terms of worldly accomplishments and possessions. In contrast, we who have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ should interpret our experiences in terms of our knowledge of the purpose of life, the mission of our Savior, and the eternal destiny of the children of God.
"Spirituality is not a function of occupation or calling. A scientist may be more spiritual than a theologian; a teacher may be more spiritual than an officer. Spirituality is determined by personal outlook and priorities. It is evident in our words and actions." ("Spirituality," Ensign, Nov. 1985, 61)
Joseph F. Smith
"...There are no more spiritually minded people on earth than the Latter-day Saints. There is no more prayerful people on earth than the Latter-day Saints. There is not another people who are nearer to God their Father than are the Latter-day Saints; for they have the right to go to Him in their secret chamber, at the altar of prayer in their own homes; they can bow down and get very near unto the Lord, nearer, I think, than any other people. I do not say it boastfully either; I say it as I believe it to be a simple truth. Does it not stand to reason that a man who has received the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands a man that has been born again of the water and of the Spirit, in accordance with the plan that God has instituted by which he may come into His fold, can get nearer to God than those that have not been born again, or those who have not been endowed with the Spirit of the Lord? Of course, it stands to reason, and it is consistent to claim that much for the Latter-day Saints. Our mothers, and the mothers of our children, whose hearts are filled with solicitude for the welfare of their children, having had conferred upon them the gift of the Holy Spirit, by the laying on of hands, can go to their secret chambers and bow down before God and commune with Him as no other mothers on earth can do..." (Conference Report, April 1912, 6 - 7.)
James E. Faust
"An important part of the spiritual being of all of us is the quiet and sacred part from which we may feel a sanctification in our lives. It is that part of us wherein no other soul intrudes. It is that part of us that permits us to come close to the divine, both in and out of this world. This portion of our beings is reserved only for ourselves and our Creator; we open the portals thereof when we pray. It is here that we retreat and meditate. It is possible for the Holy Ghost to abide in this special part of us. It is a place of special communion. It is the master cell of our spiritual battery. But this great energizer becomes dead when transgression creeps with stealth into our lives. The Romans were reminded: 'For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.' (Romans 8:6.)
"As we undertake to strengthen the inner soul, we move beyond concern for things that we can hold and possess. A wise man said: 'The wealth of a soul is measured by how much it can feel; its poverty, by how little.' (William Rounseville Alger.)" (To Reach Even unto You [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1980], 16.)
Romans 8:7 the carnal mind is enmity against God
'For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.' (Mosiah 3:19)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Spiritual submissiveness is not blind faith but deliberate obedience. It consists of proceeding on the basis of what we already know-proceeding to further subordination of the self within us. To begin to live with God in the world requires the expulsion of what is unacceptable in the old self-no minor adjustment. 'Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be' (Romans 8:7). 'They are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness' (Alma 41:11).
"Sometimes we do not submit because we are preoccupied with the choking, consuming cares of the world. 'And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful' (Mark 4:19; see also Luke 8:14; 21:34).
"Being preoccupied with the cares of the world, we have no time for God and for spiritual things." (Not My Will, But Thine [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1998], 100.)
Romans 8:9 Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his
Bruce R. McConkie
"In the full and eternal sense, even in the true church, only those saints who enjoy the companionship of the Spirit belong to the Lord; they are the only ones who are the Lord's people in the sense of gaining salvation." (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 286.)
"...if any man has not the testimony of Jesus or the Spirit of God, 'he is none of his' [Rom. 8:9], namely Christ's. And if not his, he must be damned." (Kent P. Jackson, comp. and ed., Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 227.)
Romans 8:13 ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body
"'Mortify' is a simple Greek word meaning 'put to death,' so Paul is asking the Roman saints to destroy their evil works as a condition of living in God's kingdom." (Richard L. Anderson, Understanding Paul [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 187 - 188.)
Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God
Bruce R. McConkie
"In one sense, the sons of God are the spirit offspring of the Father, the ones who 'shouted for joy' when 'the foundations of the earth' were laid. (Job 38:1-7.) But in a more particular and express sense, they are the ones who accept Christ and his laws and press forward in devotion to truth and righteousness, living 'by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God' (D. & C. 84:44), until they become new creatures of the Holy Ghost and are thus spiritually begotten of God. They become by adoption 'the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters' (Mosiah 5:7), and also, through him, they are begotten sons and daughters unto his Father. (D. & C. 76:22-24.)
"Those who receive the gospel and join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have power given them to become the sons of God. (D&C 11:30; 35:2; 39:1-6; 45:8; John 1:12.) Sonship does not come from church membership alone, but admission into the Church opens the door to such high status, if it is followed by continued faith and devotion." (Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], 745.)
Romans 8:16 we are the children of God
Howard W. Hunter
"As children of God, we learn in our young years to know our Heavenly Father in a childlike way, and if we follow the right course, the time comes when we understand the larger meaning of this relationship to our Heavenly Parent. We realize that we are made in his spiritual image as well as his physical image. In our more spiritual maturity, a whole new vista of reality opens to [us]; and we commence to understand the statement of Paul, who said, 'The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.' (Rom. 8:16.)" (Conference Report, October 1968, Afternoon Meeting 139.)
Elaine L. Jack
"I, too, have experienced what Paul taught when he said, 'The Spirit beareth witness that we are children of God.'
"When you have that witness, then you know that you are part of God's family, that Jesus Christ is your elder brother, and that you've inherited the characteristics of love, forgiveness, patience, service, tolerance, obedience. Christ is our example." ("Identity of a Young Woman," Ensign, Nov. 1989, 87)
Mark E. Petersen
"Then, being children of God, we can see our true destiny. And being thus related to him, as his children, we now see ourselves in an entirely new light-not as the descendants of ape-like creatures living an aimless existence, but as the descendants of Almighty God, with the possibility of becoming like him!
"Now we can understand the true place and dignity of man. Now we can see his infinite potential.
"As members of the family of God, we can know that he has placed us here on earth in a type of school that will help us to become like him, if we are willing to follow the curriculum." (Conference Report, October 1968, General Priesthood Meeting 100 - 101.)
Romans 8:17 if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ
One of the most common criticisms of LDS theology is that we believe that man has a divine potential. The biblical evidence for this is more than ample (see below), but still we are misrepresented. Paul's declaration that we will be joint-heirs with Christ is one of the foundational scriptures which point to man's potential to rise above and even 'pass by the angels, and the gods...to [our] exaltation' (DC 132:19). Being a joint-heir with Christ does not make us equal to Christ, but it does entitle us to all that he inherits from the Father, 'he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father's kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him' (DC 84:38).
"It should be noted here that the LDS doctrine of deification is often misrepresented. Despite what our critics claim, the Latter-day Saints do not believe that human beings will ever become the equals of God, or be independent of God, or that they will ever cease to be subordinate to God. For Latter-day Saints, to become gods means to overcome the world through the atonement of Christ (1 Jn. 5:4-5; Rev. 2:7, 11). Thus we become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17; Gal. 4:7) and will inherit all things just as Christ inherits all things (1 Cor. 3:21-23; Revelation 21:7). There are no limitations on these scriptural declarations; we shall inherit all things-including the power to create and to beget. In that glorified state we shall look like our Savior (1 Jn. 3:2; 1 Cor. 15:49; 2 Cor. 3:18) we shall receive his glory and be one with him and with the Father (John 17:21-23; Philip. 3:21). Sitting with God upon the throne of God, we shall rule over all things (Luke 12:44; Rev. 3:21 ).
"Now, if the Christian scriptures teach that we will look like God, receive the inheritance of God, receive the glory of God, be one with God, sit upon the throne of God, and exercise the power and rule of God, then surely it cannot be un-Christian to conclude with C. S. Lewis and others that such beings as these can be called gods, as long as we remember that this use of the term gods does not in any way reduce or limit the sovereignty of God our Father. That is how the early Christians used the term; it is how C. S. Lewis used the term; and it is how the Latter-day Saints use the term and understand the doctrine." (Stephen E. Robinson, Are Mormons Christians? [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991], 65.)
"To become a joint heir of the heirship of the Son, [one] must put away all [one's] traditions.
"What is it? To inherit the same glory, power, and exaltation, with those who are gone before.
"[You will] enjoy the same rise, exaltation, and glory, until you arrive at the station of a God.
"They are exalted far above principalities, thrones, dominions, and angels, and are expressly declared to be heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, all having eternal power." (Kent P. Jackson, comp. and ed., Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 155.)
Delbert L. Stapley
"In the important doctrinal discourse known as the 'King Follet Sermon' [Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 342-62], the Prophet Joseph Smith, referring to those who 'shall be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ,' described the joint heirship as inheriting the same power, the same glory, and the same exaltation, until an individual ascends to the station of Godhood and rises to the throne of eternal power, sharing the rewards with all the faithful who have preceded him.
"A joint-heir legally inherits and shares all equities and gifts in equal interest with all other heirs. Nothing is excluded nor adjusted in value between the participating joint-heirs. . . .
"If we are led by the Spirit of God in our lives, we are promised heirship with him and joint-heirship with Christ our Lord in the great estate of God's kingdom and glory. [Rom. 8:17.] We 'suffer with Christ' as we sacrifice the things of the world and yield complete obedience to every truth, principle, and ordinance of the gospel plan. Whatever we contribute in honest tithes and other contributions along with unselfish participation and service to our fellow men to build the kingdom of God on the earth, increases our personal joy and happiness in heirship with Christ the Lord. . . .
"The Father has promised his sons who receive the Holy Priesthood and faithfully abide by the conditions of its oath and covenant that they are to share in all that which the Father hath. The Father possesses kingdoms, thrones, principalities, powers, dominions, and exaltations. These the faithful will receive of him as heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. This promise-and the Lord will not fail-is a challenging encouragement for all to do his will. It is natural for a father to share his estate with his children. Our Heavenly Father is no exception. He does so with a binding covenant with his faithful sons: Listen to the words of this promise: [D&C 84:40, quoted.]
"The number sharing these great and choice blessings will be limited. It is unfortunate that so few will worthily prepare themselves and enter the strait gate and faithfully follow the narrow way to the end to earn the promising reward of eternal life and its joint-heirship with Christ of all that God the Father possesses." (CR, April 1961, pp 66-67 as taken from Roy W. Doxey, comp., Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 3: 80-81)
George Q. Cannon
"There is nothing that the Savior has attained unto that God's faithful children are not promised. They are promised the same blessings, the same power, the same authority, the same gifts, the same graces. I know that we are apt to think that heaven is a sort of spiritual place. It is spiritual; but God our Eternal Father is a being of power. He controls the earth and the inhabitants thereof; He controls the elements of the earth; and we are promised that we shall be sharers with Him. He will give us an equal interest in all this power and authority." (CR, April 1899, pp. 64-65 as taken from Roy W. Doxey, comp., Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 3: 274.)
Romans 8:18 the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed
This is the understatement of understatements, for 'Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him' (1 Cor. 2:9).
Romans 8:20 the creature was made subject to vanity
"'The creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but Christ subjected the same in hope.' We are all subject to vanity while we travel through the crooked paths and difficulties which surround us. Where is the man that is free from vanity? None ever were perfect but Jesus, and why was he perfect? Because he was the Son of God and had the fulness of the Spirit and greater power than any man. But notwithstanding our vanity, we look forward with hope (because 'we are subjected in hope') to the time of our deliverance." (Kent P. Jackson, comp. and ed., Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 156.)
Romans 8:22 the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now
The earth is a living entity. Accordingly, the scriptures speak of the earth as if it were a living soul capable of the entire range of human emotions (Prov. 30:21, Jer. 4:28, DC 123:7). 'And it came to pass that Enoch looked upon the earth; and he heard a voice from the bowels thereof, saying: Wo, wo is me, the mother of men; I am pained, I am weary, because of the wickedness of my children. When shall I rest, and be cleansed from the filthiness which is gone forth out of me? When will my Creator sanctify me, that I may rest, and righteousness for a season abide upon my face? And when Enoch heard the earth mourn, he wept, and cried unto the Lord, saying: O Lord, wilt thou not have compassion upon the earth?' (Moses 7:48-49) Similarly, Joseph Smith wrote that 'the whole earth groans under the weight of its iniquity' (DC 123:7).
Along these lines, Paul speaks of all creation groaning and travailing in pain. Without an atoning sacrifice, the earth with everything in it, indeed all of creation, would be worthless. The earth would have to be 'utterly wasted' (DC 2:3). 'Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation' (2 Ne 2:12). But as with the earth, so with us-the Atonement of Jesus Christ ends the groaning, the moaning, and the travailing. With Him, the pain stops, for 'with his stripes we are healed' (Isa. 53:5). Through Christ, we are saved from the pain of our iniquities by the hope of a glorious resurrection (v. 23-24).
Romans 8:24 we are saved by hope
Neal A. Maxwell
"Real hope, said Paul, is a hope for things that are not seen that are true. (See Romans 8:24.)...Christ-centered hope, however, is a very specific and particularized hope. It is focused on the great realities of the resurrection, eternal life, a better world, and Christ's triumphant second coming 'things as they really will be.' (Jacob 4:13. Italics added.)
"Moroni asked rhetorically, 'What should we hope for?' and, responding, said: 'Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.' (Moroni 7:41.)" (Notwithstanding My Weakness [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1981], 41.)
Romans 8:26 the Spirit also helpeth...for we know not what we should pray for
"Without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, 'we know not what we should pray for as we ought' (Rom. 8:26). But we read that the Nephite Twelve, while praying, 'did not multiply many words, for it was given unto them what they should pray, and they were filled with desire' (3 Ne. 19:24). Our most productive prayers will include all three members of the Godhead; we will address our prayers to our Father in Heaven, pray in the name of Jesus Christ, and pray as prompted by the Holy Ghost. Having the Holy Ghost express God's will for us through our prayers should be the goal of all Latter-day Saints. That way, 'the time will come when we shall know the will of God before we ask. Then everything for which we pray will be right. That will be when, as a result of righteous living, we shall so enjoy the companionship of the Spirit that he will dictate to us what we should ask.' (Marion G. Romney, Learning for the Eternities, 117)" (Donald W. Parry, "After This Manner ... Pray Ye," Ensign, Jan. 1996, 38)
Gene R. Cook
"When you are attempting to obtain answers to your prayers and to be directed by the Lord, you need to learn to follow the promptings of the Spirit. Those promptings will help you know what the Lord requires of you as you seek the blessing. They will help you know what to pray for and where to go from there. The Spirit's promptings will also tell you as you go along how much more faith you may need to exercise in order to accomplish your desire. You may have promptings telling you what you need to repent of, how to draw closer to the Lord, specific steps toward the blessing, and so forth. In sum, the Lord will guide you through the experience if you will seek to follow the promptings he gives you." (Receiving Answers to Our Prayers [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1996], 70.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Paul observed that we all need the help of the Spirit to help us even to know what we should pray for: 'Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.' (Romans 8:26. Italics added.) This truth may be justifiably linked with an episode involving a petition submitted to the Savior during His mortal ministry. The mother of the sons of Zebedee, James and John, approached the Savior and asked that they be on His right hand and left hand in the world to come. Jesus' tutoring but disapproving response was: 'Ye know not what ye ask.' (Matthew 20:22.) Clearly, when our prayers are uninspired, we petition for things we should not ask for, even though we do so innocently. This is, in effect, what we do when we pray and 'ask amiss.' (James 4:3.)
"When we ask amiss, God, being perfect, must reject our petitions: 'And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you.' (3 Nephi 18:20. Italics added.)
"The task is to draw close enough to the Lord that we progress to the point where we petition Him according to His will, not ours. 'And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.' (1 John 5:14.)" (All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979], 94.)
Romans 8:28 all things work together for good to them that love God
Shirley W. Thomas
"It does 'surprise you what the Lord can do' (Hymn # 241) when you see how many things work together for our good. But the ultimate in counting blessings is to learn to count on the Lord.
"When we can have this kind of faith, then the promises become blessings. We are a people with promises. The Lord often tests us, but his word is true. Lehi and his family might have wondered, when their boat was being tossed about, how they were going to make it to shore safely. But they must have continued in faith, because they did arrive at the promised land.
"The Lord pledges that all things work together for good to those who love the Lord. (See Rom. 8:28.) It's a powerful statement. The promise is all things-and the single qualification is that we love the Lord. If we do, the Lord can make all things work together for our good and become blessings. In light of these truths, we all have reason to be happy and optimistic." (" 'And It Will Surprise You': Some Thoughts on Counting Our Blessings," Ensign, Feb. 1982, 62)
Ezra Taft Benson
"The world today speaks a great deal about love, and it is sought for by many. But the pure love of Christ differs greatly from what the world thinks of love. Charity never seeks selfish gratification. The pure love of Christ seeks only the eternal growth and joy of others.
"When I think of charity, I again think of my father and that day he was called on his mission. I suppose some in the world might say that his acceptance of that call was proof he did not really love his family. To leave seven children and an expectant wife at home alone for two years, how could that be true love?
"But my father knew a greater vision of love. He knew that 'all things shall work together for good to them that love God' (Rom. 8:28). He knew that the best thing he could do for his family was to obey God.
"While we missed him greatly during those years, and while his absence brought many challenges to our family, his acceptance proved to be a gift of charity. Father went on his mission, leaving Mother at home with seven children. (The eighth was born four months after he arrived in the field.) But there came into that home a spirit of missionary work that never left it.
"...Later the family grew to eleven children-seven sons and four daughters. All seven sons filled missions, some of them two or three missions. Later, two daughters and their husbands filled full-time missions. The two other sisters, both widows-one the mother of eight and the other the mother of ten-served as missionary companions in Birmingham, England.
"It is a legacy that still continues to bless the Benson family even into the third and fourth generations. Was not this truly a gift of love?" ("Godly Characteristics of the Master," Ensign, Nov. 1986, 47-48)
Henry B. Eyring
"I must be careful about what I promise you as you try choosing to be good. It won't be all roses. President Ezra Taft Benson spent a lifetime trying to be good. Every time I was with him I felt his goodness. As nearly as I could tell, he had used the Savior as his standard about as well as anyone I ever knew. And yet, in his advanced years, life got harder, not easier. In 1989 he expressed a sense of joy that included the edge of reality: 'I leave you my testimony of the joy of living-of the joys of full gospel living and of going through the Refiner's fire and the sanctification process that takes place. As the Apostle Paul so well said, `We know that all things work together for good to them that love God.` (Romans 8:28.)' ("To the Elderly of the Church," Ensign, November 1989, p. 8.)" (To Draw Closer to God: A Collection of Discourses [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 70.)
Sterling W. Sill
"If you forget everything else that I say today, I hope you will remember Paul's great line to the Romans when he said, 'All things work together for the good of them that love God.' (Rom. 8:28.) If you love God, if you think right, if you have a good attitude, if you do the right things, then everything is planned for your good. That is, night is as necessary as day; labor is as important as ease; uphill is as good as downhill; sickness and death serve us quite as well as health and strength." (October 24, 1962, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1962, p. 2)
Neal A. Maxwell
"The more we contemplate God's character, the more we understand that the God who watches over Israel does not sleep, nor does he slumber (see Psalm 121:4). If there are what appear to us to be ambiguities and perplexities, God has, long beforehand, taken all these into account. He has made 'ample provision' for His purposes to be achieved fully. We will not be exempted from these uncertainties, however, nor will we always see the end from the beginning. But knowing adequately of the divine character and plans, we can proceed anyway, for 'we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose' (Romans 8:28)." (Lord, Increase Our Faith [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 20.)
Romans 8:29 Predestination
"Predestination claims divine predetermination. This doctrine was favored by Reformation theology, especially by Calvinism...But the Medieval and Reformation doctrine goes far beyond Paul's simple concept. His Greek word [for predestination] is proorizo, which combines the prefix meaning 'beforehand' (pro) and the verb for marking off or determining (horizo). No scripture student can doubt that God planned this earth in advance-the question is whether man's agency is excluded. Restoration scripture insists that God sent man to earth with freedom and responsibility. So a better translation of Ephesians and Romans would be 'foreordain,' which avoids theological theories negating free agency." (Richard Lloyd Anderson, Understanding Paul [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 262 - 263.)
"This passage has disturbed many students of the New Testament-and rightly so. It seems to teach that an all-powerful God has predetermined the destinies of every individual. Perhaps the most well-known advocate of this idea was John Calvin, a sixteenth-century French minister. On the subject, he wrote, 'We call predestination God's eternal decree, by which he determined within himself what he willed to become of each man. ... Eternal life is foreordained for some, eternal damnation for others. Therefore, as any man has been created to one or the other of these ends, we speak of him as predestined to life or to death.'
"Calvinists claimed that once a person's destiny was divinely decreed, it was irrevocable: 'Angels and men, thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed; and their number is so certain and definite that it can not be either increased or diminished.'
"To Latter-day Saints, the idea of predestination is unscriptural. Not only does it deny what Paul and other prophets taught about agency, but it also limits God's love to only a select few. Elder Joseph Fielding Smith stated emphatically that 'no person is ever predestined to salvation or damnation. Every person has free agency.' Similarly, the Book of Mormon prophet Jacob taught that 'one being is as precious in [God's] sight as the other.' (Jacob 2:21.)
"The problem with the idea of predestination, as C. H. Dodd put it, is that it 'sets the ground of a man's hope of salvation entirely outside himself.' Elder James E. Talmage also denounced the concept of predestination, saying that it makes us merely 'automatons,' acting out a predetermined destiny decreed by God." (Eldon R. Taylor, "I Have a Question," Ensign, Dec. 1990, 29)
Bruce R. McConkie
"It is true that the words predestinate and predestinated are found in the King James translation of some of Paul's writings (Rom. 8:29-30; Eph. 1:5, 11), but Biblical revisions use the words foreordain and foreordained, which more accurately convey Paul's views. However, even as the King James Version renders the passages, there is no intimation of any compulsion or denial of free agency, for one of the dictionary definitions of foreordination is predestination, meaning the prior appointment (in pre-existence) of particular persons to perform designated labors or gain particular rewards." (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed., pp. 588-589.)
Romans 8:29-30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called
The Joseph Smith Translation avoids the pitfall of predestination that Calvinism fell into. Specifically, the verse is altered to refer to Christ's predestination as God's Son. Yet, we know that the Lord's servants are also called from the foundation of the world. We could even say that the time and place of our birth have been predestined. According to Paul's sermon on Mars Hill, '[God] hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of [our] habitation.' (Acts 17:26) While God may have predetermined the bounds of our habitation, he has not predetermined the bounds of our every action. What Calvinism misunderstands is that such a calling does not predestinate the act, the thought, or the final reward of the individual.
Harold B. Lee
"...about this matter of foreordination. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that 'every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was' (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938], p. 365). So likewise declared the Apostle Paul, 'For whom he did foreknow them he also called' (Romans 8:29-30). But do not misunderstand that such a calling and such foreordination pre-determine what you must do. A prophet on this western continent has spoken plainly on this subject, 'Being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil' (Alma 13:3). This last passage makes the others preceding more understandable. God may have called and chosen men in the spirit world or in their first estate to do a certain work, but whether they will accept that calling here and magnify it by faithful service and good works while in mortality is a matter in which it is their right and privilege to exercise their free agency to choose good or evil." (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 31.)
Romans 8:31 If God be for us, who can be against us?
'If God be for us, who can prevail against us?' (Joseph Smith Translation).
Jeffrey R. Holland
"Christ and His angels and His prophets forever labor to buoy up our spirits, steady our nerves, calm our hearts, send us forth with renewed strength and resolute hope. They wish all to know that 'if God be for us, who can be against us?' In the world we shall have tribulation, but we are to be of good cheer. Christ has overcome the world." ("The Peaceable Things of the Kingdom," Ensign, Nov. 1996, 83)
Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
"What is the message of the gospel? Is it that we're weak, frail sinners? That Heavenly Father is disgusted and angry with us? That Jesus is sorry he died for us because it was a real waste of the Atonement? That all the angels have decided that giving us agency was a stupid thing to do? No! The message of the scriptures is that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Paul, in trying to make his Roman converts understand this, wrote this beautiful, powerful passage: (quotes Romans 8:31-39.)
"Isn't that thrilling! Doesn't this knowledge sweep away all those sneering, accusing faces? Doesn't that affirmation of love roar like a mighty wind in your ears, drowning out those scoffing, accusing voices? Paul affirms: 'For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.' (Hebrews 4:15-16.)" (Lighten Up! [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1993], 156 - 157.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"The Savior was bearing our sins, our pains (see 2 Ne. 9:21), our infirmities, our sicknesses, to bring to pass the Atonement. Simultaneously He thus came to know, 'according to the flesh' (Alma 7:12), how to succor His people. He became the perfected and empathetic Shepherd, making these lines of Paul's especially tender and relevant: 'Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?' (Rom. 8:35.)
"The atonement was a most wondrous and glorious moment. In fact, it was the central act in all of human history!" ("The New Testament-A Matchless Portrait of the Savior," Ensign, Dec. 1986, 26)
Romans 8:38-39 neither death, nor life...Nor height, nor depth...shall be able to separate us from the love of God
Neal A. Maxwell
"'Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?' (Romans 8:35.)
"Relative to those words of Paul's, just because the Lord who thus loves us chooses to protect the faithful for His purposes on one occasion, this does not necessarily mean He will on another. It is a matter of attuning our hearts to scriptures, such as the above. These pertain daily and directly to our trust in God to the point of spiritual submissiveness. If the test comes, we must be like the about-to-be-burned Abinadi, who desired to finish his message 'and then it matters not' (Mosiah 13:9); or the three young men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who said it all in three brave and brief words:
(Sermons Not Spoken [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1985], 8.)
Gordon B. Hinckley
"There was no lack of certitude on the part of Paul after he had seen a light and heard a voice while en route to Damascus to persecute the Christians. For more than three decades after that, he devoted his time, his strength, his life to the spreading of the gospel of the resurrected Lord. Without regard for personal comfort or safety, he traveled over the known world of his time, declaring that 'neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.' (Rom. 8:38-39.)
"Executed in Rome, Paul sealed with his death his final testimony of his conviction of the divine sonship of Jesus Christ.
"So it was with the early Christians, thousands upon thousands of them, who suffered imprisonment, torture, and death rather than recant their stated beliefs in the life and resurrection of the Son of God." ("Faith: The Essence of True Religion," Ensign, Nov. 1981, 6)